ncsoft

A major global studio based in South Korea, known in the west for games like WildStar, Guild Wars 2, and Aion, among many others.

Massively OP Podcast Episode 136: Westward ho!

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree saddle up for discussion on Wild West Online’s alpha, Star Citizen’s back-backlash on schedules, the miserable state of Phantasy Star Online 2, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Our Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire launch countdown checklist

I can’t quite believe that around 18 months of Guild Wars 2 development is about to drop in our laps this week through the Path of Fire expansion! It feels entirely different to the mammoth Heart of Thorns hype train that was somewhat marred by first expansion trepidation and the controversial pricing structure and content inclusions: On the second pass through an expansion release cycle, ArenaNet has managed to field a largely more low-key, straightforward road to launch, barring some grievances regarding material storage and gear identification. The hype train is building this week, and I wanted to help the effort by sharing my launch countdown checklist with you all so you can join me in

The hype train is building this week, and I wanted to help the effort by sharing my launch countdown checklist with you all so you can join me in looking forward to the expansion drop. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll speculate on main story points I hope to see in PoF, give pointers on prepping for Friday, and share some of the upcoming must-see ArenaNet launch materials. I’ll mainly just throw some ideas out that might help distract you while you wait on the big day. Do take note that those who wish to avoid all information about the expansion before Friday should give this column a miss for now in case of spoilers.

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Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire is rejiggering crafting material storage to prevent hoarding, and fans are not happy

Material storage in Guild Wars 2 is a pretty important part of the game, especially if you have any interest in crafting. People who hold on to everything and/or craft a lot will not be happy with the announcement that some common materials will not be placed in material storage when Path of Fire launches.

The reasoning, according to ArenaNet, is that the studio saw players hoarding certain materials in Heart of Thorns that should have been common, but players were hoarding and selling small numbers at best, leading to some unbalanced costs on the trading post. The studio’s ostensible hope is that this change will encourage players to sell more and keep materials moving.

“With the arrival of Path of Fire, many new materials and components will be added to Material Storage,” says ArenaNet’s Gaile Gray. “But for a handful of items, we’ve specifically decided not to start with them in Material Storage, and instead to add them to the storage system later. Why? Well, at the launch of Heart of Thorns, we noticed a peculiar behavior: most players will deposit first when clearing their inventory, and then proceed to take actions like salvaging, opening chests, or, crucially, putting items on the Trading Post. This tended to mean that before a player will post an item on the Trading Post, they’ll wait to accrue a full stack in their Material Storage. During the early period of Heart of Thorns, this significantly contributed to the early expense of flax, which was abundantly available but, for the most part, was ‘warehoused’ in the banks of players.”

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Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire launch trailer is hot. One might even say it’s on fire. Because it is.

Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire launch is coming up fast on Friday of this very week, which means today is launch trailer day. In case you somehow forgot,

“Packed with content, Path of Fire brings players back to the Crystal Desert where they will be brought face-to-face with Balthazar, the god of fire and war. The expansion also introduces mounts and elite specializations, allowing fans to play and explore in new ways like never before.”

Stay tuned for more coverage from Massively OP this week on the expansion, beginning with a look at inventory changes and our regular Guild Wars 2 column, Flameseeker Chronicles, later today!

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Neverwinter highlights major inventory quality-of-life overhaul

Inventory management in MMORPGs is critical — I can’t even imagine playing something like World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls Online without inventory mods installed. And yet mods shouldn’t be necessary; game inventory should work properly and well right out of the box.

Such is Neverwinter’s philosophy. In a new dev blog today, PWE explains its major overhaul for character inventories in the game. Of note, the inventory settings menu will allow players to sort the stuff in their bags by item type, sell everything marked as treasure, and identify all unindentified items – a move that seems to mirror Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire additions. You can also filter items by property, something few MMOs offer by default, and convert items to refinement points in bulk, part of a larger (and contentious) move to rewrite the refinement system.

Irritatingly, the cash-shop option to buy a bag is the top button under settings, right next to the button on your inventory bar, meaning both can be visible at once, but ya can’t win ’em all. Feedback is currently still being collected on the official forums.

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One Shots: A bridge too far

One more bridge. That’s what she kept telling me, even though I cautioned her that sooner or later our luck would run out. She would pause, then shake her head and urge us on. One more bridge.

That day, when we crossed a seemingly innocuous wooden bridge over RIFT’s gorgeous Scatherron Forest, our luck broke — as did six boards, sending us plummeting down into a gorge. As I fell, I wondered why I was taking orders from my talking mount anyway. Perhaps she knew that fall damage was a thing of the past and I could be pressured into recklessness.

After I pick myself back up and find another route onward, we’ll look at the rest of this week’s player-submitted screenshots and stories!

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PSA: Get some bonus goodies when you preregister for Lineage 2: Revolution

Tested and proven over in South Korea, Netmarble’s Lineage 2: Revolution is about to sweep over the globe and enslave your children and your children’s children. Or at least to entertain a bit while mommy and daddy are at the bank.

Pre-registration for the mobile MMORPG is now open wordwide in 48 countries including those in North America and Europe. As a bonus for signing up this early, players will secure a hero’s starting pack and full equipment set for when the game goes live. The pack includes “a full gear set, in-game currency, and various loot.” There is also an option to claim a character name now, an act that rewards a player with an exclusive “First Explorer” title.

Lineage 2: Revolution is purported to be a fully featured MMORPG with open-world environments, giant PvP battles, and gorgeous Unreal 4 graphics. The game is supposed to launch in the west later this year.

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Guild Wars 2 begins its final countdown to Path of Fire’s launch

With the launch of Path of Fire just a week away now, the Guild Wars 2 team has outlined its plans for the next seven days. Aside from the launch itself, probably the most important day next week is Tuesday, when the studio will roll out the launch trailer, followed by Thursday, which will see a cavalcade of rebroadcasts of Path of Fire stuff on Twitch in case you missed it all the first time and can’t be arsed to track them down.

The expansion areas will formally open at noon EDT on Friday, September 22nd, as planned, though the team will be streaming a “preshow” from 10 a.m. EDT onward promising “fun surprises.” Hope you took off work that day!

“Make sure to pack sunscreen, don’t approach choya without protective gear, and remember that sand eels bite when threatened,” ArenaNet says. We’ll be aiming to stream that weekend as well, death-counter in tow.

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Massively Overthinking: What keeps you from playing mobile MMOs?

Earlier this week, we wrote about Black Desert developer Pearl Abyss’ IPO and its grand plans for the future – among them, four additional MMOs. Sounds great, right? Except that the suspicion, at least in our comments, is that Pearl Abyss will just follow in the footsteps of Nexon, NCsoft, and Netmarble in that the games will mobile MMOs and not “real” MMORPGs at all. That may or may not be true; the games have fairly fast turnaround for a full-scale MMORPG, but then the company talked up the BDO engine for future games and expressed great ambition in the MMORPG market in the west and on console.

But the suspicion seems to turn off so many of us — the stigma is real. So for today’s Overthinking, I wanted to dig into that. Do you play mobile MMOs, especially any of the modern crop that are popular in East Asia and then ported here? What keeps you from playing mobile MMOs, and what would you want out of an MMO for a mobile device that would actually make you consider it a home MMORPG?

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Guild Wars 2 DPS meter creator adds build templates to popular arcdps mod

If you have min-maxer friends in Guild Wars 2 as I do, you probably already know about arcdps, a player-designed mod that originally merely parsed chat logs and gathered DPS statistics, which I’m sure were only ever used for good and never for evil because MMORPG players would never judge each other based on numbers spewing forth from a meter. Oh, wait, they would? It is in fact one of their favorite things to do? Dammit.

That aside, the mod is approved by ArenaNet, and most recently it picked up some epic new features that will likely raise its popularity even among people who believe DPS parsers are one of the worst things to ever happen to MMOs. That feature? Build templates.

“I now have the all clear for build templates,” deltaconnected writes. “arcdps serves as the framework for the time being meaning you will need both arcdps and the buildtemplate DLLs in bin64. […] No support for legendary stat swapping yet – requires legendaries to experiment on.”

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Choose My Adventure: Shroud of the Avatar in summation

All the time through playing Shroud of the Avatar, I found myself wanting to like the game a lot more than I did. And my brain kept turning back to Minecraft, which seems like a worthwhile comparison to make.

Much like SOTA, Minecraft is a game strongly based on the concept of making your own fun. You are definitely making your own adventure in the game. But at the same time, it seems very relevant to point out that the game starts by giving you a clear set of parameters to work within. Monsters will spawn at night, there are resources under ground, you break things to get better things, and then combine those things to make still better things. From there on out, much of the game is devoted to figuring out how these various elements play off of one another.

So they’re both sandbox-ish titles in which you make your own fun. Except that one of them starts by showing you the fun that you’re supposed to be having and giving you a goal, and it does so with absolutely no story to guide you along that route. It shows you exactly the sort of game it’s trying to be and lets you start working at meeting it halfway. But SOTA never quite got there, at least for me.

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Perfect Ten: The 10 tiers of MMORPG lore

Lore! Huh! What is it good for? Understanding why you’re standing in the middle of a pack of angry people with fangs in MMOs, of course. It’s the thin line dividing your actions from being reckless, indiscriminate mayhem and discriminating, careful mayhem. Lore is how you know what the world is like beyond your front door, and it’s the difference between understanding that you face Ragnaros, lord of flame or just knowing that there’s a dude here made out of fire, so you should probably use water spells on him.

All lore, however, is not created equal. There’s lore that creates a detailed, vibrant world full of people with their own hopes and dreams, and there’s lore that creates a game where you know what you’re supposed to be doing but have no idea what people do for fun afterwards aside from waiting to die. So today, we explore the tiers of lore, arranged in a numbered list because that’s the entire premise of the column. It’s not Perfect Vague Assortment of Concepts. That’s not even a column.

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Guild Wars 2 raids won’t be getting more difficulty options in Path of Fire ‘at this time’

There are new forums for Guild Wars 2, which means that one of the first development posts can be another reminder that the developers at ArenaNet don’t want to make raids accessible. Indeed, a new post on the new forums states pretty firmly that there are no plans to make alternative difficulties. Anet’s Crystal Reid suggests that raids are intended to be about “skill.”

“We won’t be adding a different difficulty tier at this time. Raids need to continue to remain the most challenging content in the game, and they aren’t designed to be accessible by everyone from a skill perspective. Could they be more accessible from a ‘finding 9 other players to play with’ side? Sure. That isn’t always an easy problem to solve, and any solution would detract away from the team making more raid content. We’d love to get more content out to you guys faster really.”

The post goes on to address difficulty in the most recent wing, stating that the Mursaat Overseer difficulty is a bit too easy compared to what was planned and the team wants to bring out more raid content more quickly. So that’s good news for everyone who enjoys the raid difficulty and wants to be faced with more punishing mechanics and nerd-herding, and bad news for… well, anyone who really just wants to happily experience the game’s story and has no interest in raiding now or ever regardless of the supposed skill it requires. So not much will change, then.

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